Chicago choreographer Winifred Haun is a puzzle, an artist of considerable talent who can’t seem to decide whether to go for the arcane and challenging or the popular and accessible. So she does both. Trained in ballet, a former member of the technically exacting Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre, Haun veers between taut classical lines and softer, more expressive gestural movement; the combination is often arresting. Her new ensemble work, East 90/94, both explores the pace of contemporary life and experiments with formal issues: Haun uses contrasting styles–jazz dance, modern, the occasional ballet move, even t’ai chi–and all levels and areas of the stage space to maintain our interest. And does it so well we don’t even notice she’s trying. Typically, she’s chosen a difficult mix of music–Iannis Xenakis, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Melissa Etheridge, Peter Gabriel–for the score, executed by Scott Silberstein; her dancers have never looked better. Just one year old this month, Winifred Haun & Dancers will be performing this work and several others Friday and Saturday at 8 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, $10. (Saturday night there’ll be a coffee and dessert benefit after the show; tickets for both performance and reception will be $35.) Call 227-4496. You can also see excerpts from last 90/94 Sunday at 7 when they’ll be performed as part of the Oak Theatre Project (see listing), at the Oak, 2000 N. Western; $5 in advance, $7 at the door (975-0038).

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Mauney.